Wednesday, August 21, 2019

THE BAD BEES ARE GONE


Just about a year ago, we posted HERE about the bees that took over the one hive we had left.  It was 100% my fault for not removing the "tempting" empty home when we lost our bees.  I removed one hive but not this one (see post for details).

Then some wild bees took it over.  At first we thought capturing a wild swarm can be a good thing.  But after observing them, we found the new bees to be aggressive.  VERY aggressive.  There are reports in the area of Africanized bees.

A few times they chased me to the house.  I finally just stopped mowing in the former bee yard.  We called a couple of bee removal experts but either the wait was long or they wouldn't come that far out.  They also charged a LOT of money.

Since we were not going to that area anyway, we just sort of left them alone.


The grass grew and the hive became just part of the background.  I could always see bees on it (the white color makes that easy) and so I just stayed away.  Flash forward to last weekend.  I looked in that direction as usual but didn't see any activity.  I carefully got closer and didn't see anything.

The hive was empty.


Here it is after I got up close.  Definitely empty.  What a relief.  I'm not sure where they went or what happened but we're OK with it.


I removed the top so that another hive will not be tempted though I don't think they would since the other creepy crawlies have taken over.

It was too hot to deal with disposing of the pieces we don't want (most likely all of them). Some of you will wonder about honey.  There was none that we could salvage as ants and bugs had taken over. Plus the wild bees took over a hive where the wax had melted and honey had fermented so if there had been any, it would probably have tasted pretty funky.

 We still have one complete hive put up in storage along with the matching copper roof from this hive (wasn't going to let THAT go).  Not sure what else will be salvageable but I think when we next venture into beekeeping, we'll start with keeping just one hive alive for a few seasons as a start.

Monday, August 19, 2019

BUMBLEBEES BLACK CATS AND FRIED CHICKEN

Just kind of an update post today.  Had a great weekend.  We ran errands, did some window shopping, had some great food and just relaxed.  Knowing that we were going to do this, I took Friday off and went to the farm.  I figured without rain there wouldn't be much mowing.  If you saw the update yesterday, you can see a picture of the yard and there was no mowing.  We're now over three weeks (four this coming weekend) since the last time.  

While I miss my time on the Zen Machine, it was a "feels like" temperature of 108 yesterday.  I'm good staying inside where it's cool, ha.


The bumblebees were out in force.  I love watching them.  So big and slow moving,  Plus the buzzing sound of so many is actually kind of peaceful.


Did you know that August 17th is (was) National Black Cat Appreciation Day?  Now this is not to be confused with National Black Cat Day which is later in the year, ha.  This day is a day to celebrate the black cat and dispel the myths around them.  I didn't know that black cats (and dogs) are less likely to be adopted.  Poor babies.  Black cats are just like any other cat, they are wonderful!

Hobart however was not impressed.  He was laying in this patch of sun and we told him we appreciated him...he could barely be moved to open his eyes, ha.




From our anniversary post I mentioned that we had a tradition.  On our fourth anniversary, the place we had been going every year was gone.  So on a whim we went to a place 2nd Man remembered from his childhood.  Also, it is a Houston institution.  It's called Barbecue Inn.  Sure they have BBQ but they are known for their fried chicken.  See this screen grab above.  They are consistently in top lists around the country.  Best fried chicken we've ever had.


I had the dark meat plate with french fries, two thighs and a leg...

2nd Man had the white meat plate with baked potato, two breasts and a wing...

They also come with salads.  It's such a good comfort food dinner.  We go twice a year.  Once on our anniversary and around Valentines Day.

They've been around for over 70 years and the place is PACKED all the time.  We're pretty sure we're good for a while, ha.  Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

STILL HOT AND DRY

Knowing that we'd be running errands all weekend and wanting to just stay in and relax for a change, I took Friday off and went to the farm to check things out and of course water the fruit trees.


Here is the front yard, over three weeks now since the last mowing.  You can still see the lines from that mowing.  We would say that is zero growth.  If no rain this week, there will be no mowing next weekend and that will mark one month without needing it.

Thank you all for your sweet comments on our anniversary post.  We will reply to each one.

Hope you are having a great weekend!


And we'll leave you today with some very wise words of wisdom...


Friday, August 16, 2019

OUR ANNIVERSARY



20 YEARS...the first date

We still remember the place we went on our first date.  We went every year for the first three years until they went out of business.  Now we have a new tradition at a different restaurant.  That's on the menu this weekend.  More on that later.

20 YEARS....16 + 4

It's been 20 years together but with a twist.  While a few of you know this, many do not.  Four years ago, when the Supreme Court legalized marriage for us, we got married.  We were able to use our anniversary date as our wedding date so it's always the same.  It was a small civil ceremony with two wonderful friends to witness it.  Irony of ironies, the judge knew 2nd Man's parents from years ago.  He was so excited to perform our ceremony.  For us it was wonderful to get the acknowledgement and validation of our love for each other and great to finally have all the same legalities that all married couples have had.  No more worrying about hospital visitation if needed, no more worrying about financial issues, buying and selling property, we even get a better deal now by filing taxes jointly.  Sometimes it's the things others take for granted that mean the most to those who have never had them. 

20 YEARS...take the good with the bad

There have been good times but also sad times.  Too much loss (all four of my grandparents and both of my parents, a dear friend, and two of our beloved kitties).  Thankfully those are offset by many more happy times.  Our first house.  The purchase of the farm and land.  All the sweat equity we've put into making a place for our future.  And of course LOTS of wonderful food.

20 YEARS...of adventures

A few job changes for both of us and a few moves.  Then toss in a couple of tropical storms and a couple of major hurricanes.  Add in some great trips and vacations.  We have had a great life together so far and can't wait for the adventures of the next 20 and beyond.

20 YEARS...together

As we remind each other every year, in the end the most important thing is that we have each other.

"Just you and me" we like to say...
"that's all that truly matters".



Thursday, August 15, 2019

RELAXING ON THE PORCH INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!



Can just a book and a chair and some flowers and a cold glass of something to drink be an inspiration? Of course it can be.  A place to rest.  A place to read.  A place to dream.  

Nothing wrong with that.  Once we get something done with the house (be it a new one or a remodel) I've made it clear that we need a porch, we need that place to sit and relax and survey our domain, ha.  And do things like this. 

Be inspired!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

GARDEN STOOL TRASH TO TREASURE

Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  

I've found several cool items so far.
Here is the latest!



I found this stool.  It's very heavy and solidly built.  The legs are heavily welded and are powder coated. 


When I flip it over, there are just four simple screws holding on the padded top section.  It is just generic vinyl that looks like leather.  

Instead of using this inside, I want to use it outside, mainly in the garden for sitting on while pulling weeds, planting seeds, digging holes etc in the raised beds.  I know you can buy some garden rolling seats like that.  I've actually had one of those in the past.  The rolling part didn't work because it was just too difficult to move.  Perhaps on concrete for sure but with the uneven weedblock covered ground didn't work. Having something small that I can pick up and carry and put back down, this will be perfect.  

I'll definitely redo the padded seat with something more "outdoor ready".  Some Sunbrella fabric for the top, maybe they make an outdoor cushion to put under the fabric, the rest would be fine as is.  The powder coated metal is rustproof.  Just need to source the materials.  

Then I can have a small and movable place to sit while gardening.






Monday, August 12, 2019

HOT WEEKEND AND STEAK AND POTATOES DINNER

Houston Forecast: Triple Digits As Far As The Eye Can See

We are in for a long 100 degree stretch that will last through at least late next week.

It's been hot.  We were over 100 Saturday and Sunday and the city is warning people to stay inside where it's cool and stay hydrated.  There appears to be no end in sight either.  So we took the advice.  I went to the farm Saturday morning and stayed about two hours.  I just had to check on things and then water the fruit trees and the plants on the porch.  

I did not need to mow...

Dry grass
I posted the picture above last week after I mowed...

Drier grass
...and here it was this weekend.  No growth at all (you can still see the mowing paths!) and it's a little "browner" than the weekend before.


The grass under this tree is fading fast.  A few years back we had a horrible drought going almost a year without measurable rainfall.  Everything died at the farm.  The grass I mowed maybe twice in the year.  So it does come back...eventually.

I did a deep watering on the fruit trees and the plants on the porch and that was it.  I took some pictures, put a couple things in the barn and called it a day.

Duck fat, beef tallow and bacon fat
Here is something neat I found at the grocery store.  This comes from Kroger.  They now sell jars of rendered duck fat, beef tallow and bacon fat.  Now the bacon fat of course we always have some of that  in the fridge so no point in buying that.

But the duck fat and beef tallow, well they seemed like good ingredients to have on hand, so I bought them for 2nd Man.

Steak and potatoes
This weekend he used a bit of the beef tallow in a cast iron skillet to cook some steaks.  And then he sliced some Yukon Gold potatoes into wedges and roasted them in the oven...after tossing them in duck fat.  I don't think we've ever had better steak and potatoes.  They were AMAZING. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

TO THE FARM AND BACK

Left from in town about 8am, got to the farm about 9am.  It was already 89 degrees...


...back in town by noon and it was already 97.

It is hot.  We're under a heat advisory and the city of Houston is telling everyone to stay inside unless absolutely necessary.

So the rest of the weekend will be inside where it's cool.  Stay cool wherever you are.

Friday, August 9, 2019

PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA FRIDAY FOOD DEBATE

It's time for the "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world...LOL!

This week, the burning question is:



This could be one of the biggest food debates in recent memory.  Not since the dress color debate or the Laurel/Yanny debate has something lit up the Internet:  Pizza toppings, or more specifically, pineapple as a topping.

Some love the sweet and salty bite of a slice of pizza with ham and pineapple.  It's the taste of Hawaii on a slice of pizza.

Others think it's an abomination, something sweet like that does not belong on a slice of pizza...ever.

After two weeks in a row of being a united household, here we are divided once again.  I love pineapple with ham on a pizza.  After all, I like glazed ham and that's sweet/savory.  2nd Man says, quite bluntly, it's gross.  

So...do you like pineapple on pizza?
Or is that a big no?



Thursday, August 8, 2019

CANNING STORAGE INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!



Lately, I've been getting the canning urge again.   A couple of seasons back, I canned a bunch of jam. We've eaten almost all of it over the last two years.  Amazing to have our own food that we made and saved for all this time.  Just pull some out and use it when we run out.

Recently, 2nd Man said "you need to make more".

So, I've been dipping my foot back into the canning world (hence the reason I posted yesterday about seeing the smooth sided jars in the store, I was in the canning section, ha).  Anyway, while looking online I find all sorts of interesting pictures. This is one of them. We could only imagine having this much stuff saved up.  Not sure we could eat it all before it would be expired, but it sure would be nice to try.

Be inspired!